Below are families from recent ShelterBox deployments who received aid, delivered by our ShelterBox Response Team members. Check back for more first-hand accounts from ShelterBox Response Team members in the field.
Maria Bele Artiaga - Ecuador, April 2016
Maria Bele Artiaga, a wife and mother in her 50s, experienced her second brush with disaster when the massive earthquake hit Ecuador on April 16. Maria was alone in her house the evening of the earthquake, watching TV. Maria describes the unfolding horror: “The entire house was shaking. I felt disoriented like I was in a whirlpool and everything was spinning and twirling around me [...] I couldn’t move and I just watched in shock. I thought the world was ending.” ShelterBox response team members Jon Berg and Celine Chhea spotted Maria by the roadside near her shattered home at Higueron Afuera as they conducted assessments around Portoviejo. ShelterBox is distributing thousands of shelter kits in Ecuador, that contain tools and tarpaulins to either create rudimentary shelters or to repair and waterproof damaged buildings. Learn more about the ongoing ShelterBox response in Ecuador here.
Diane and her family - Fiji, April 2016
Cyclone Winston caused widespread devastation on the islands of Fiji when it struck, including in the village of Tokou on the island Ovalau. Diane and her family were one of many who lost their home and their possessions as a result of Cyclone Winston. They sought refuge in the community centre over the duration of the storm, where water levels were so high that adults had to hold their children above their heads while the storm passed. With your support, ShelterBox teams were able to provide a ShelterBox to Diane and her family. For Diane and her family, a ShelterBox means relief. I'm so happy to have a tent - to have a safe place of our own to sleep.’ To learn more about how ShelterBox response teams helped families rebuild in Fiji after Cyclone Winston, read the news article here.
Mercedes and Valentin - Philippines, January 2016
Mercedes Arca and her husband Valentin, who at 82 is the second oldest person in the island village of Binaly, were just one of the families to lose their home to Typhoon Melor. As the storm raged through their village, none of the villagers were hurt, but more than 120 homes had been destroyed or badly damaged. There was nothing left of Mercedes and Valentin’s house. Mercedes was devastated, as they had no way of rebuilding again. But when the ShelterBox team, made up of Andrew Clark (UK) and Bill Woodard (US) provided the couple with materials to rebuild their home, she was overjoyed. She said: ‘Thank you, thank you. ShelterBox was the answer to my prayers.’ Read more about the recent ShelterBox deployment to the Philippines here.
Jejou family - Greece, September 2015
ShelterBox Response Team member Jennifer Butte-Dahl (USA) and her Syrian coworker Samer had the chance to talk to the Jejou family from Mosul, Iraq at the Kara Tepe transit camp. When asked how the tent helped their family, they responded: “We first bought a small tent, but it was not good for 5 people. It was too small. We found this tent empty, cleaned it up, and began using it instead. It is big. We can put our luggage inside to keep it safe. And the whole family can live in this tent. This tent provides shelter for us and it is a safe place. It is also better if it is windy. This tent will stand better in the wind. It also keeps us out of the sun, which is much better.” You can find out more about the Jejou family's journey to Lesbos here.